July 6th, 2016 ~ Vol. 85 No. 27
Cos unveils a mix of revolutionary poutine surprises
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
The Cos’ Special Poutine that includes cheese, bacon, gravy, mushrooms and onions.
Pass Herald Reporter
Poutine. It’s a French-Canadian dish made of French fries and fresh cheese curds, covered with gravy.

It was invented in rural Quebec in the 1950’s but there is some controversy as to which rural eatery served it up first. In their short history of poutine, La Banquise, hailed as one of Montreal’s best, most inventive poutine restaurants offers up several possibilities.

It could have been invented at a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit – The Laughing Elf – in the small town of Warwick in 1957. It’s been reported that a client named Eddy Lainesse would ask owner Fernand Lachance to mix cheese curds with his fries.

Popular legend has it that when Lachance looked into the bag after the two ingredients were mixed together, he remarked, “this is a poutine,” which is Québécois slang for a "mess.”

It’s also possible the iconic dish was dubbed poutine because other dishes made with potatoes are called poutiness in French. It might also be derived from the word pudding.
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Another restaurant called Le Roy Jucep registered a trademark stating that it invented the poutine in 1964 when it began adding cheese curds to its already popular combination of gravy and fries.

It could have been born in a town called Princeville at a restaurant called La P’tite Vache – The Little Cow. The eatery was located close to a dairy, which produced an excess of cheese curds but had nowhere to sell them. The restaurant began selling the curds right from the register and enterprising customers began mixing them in with their fries.

Though the exact origins of poutine are lost to history, the dish is surely undergoing a norm-bending revolution right here in Crowsnest Pass.

How would you like to eat a poutine that substitutes perogies for fries and throws in bacon, fried onion, sour cream, cheddar cheese and shrimp?

Why not a poutine that includes teriyaki sauce, Chinese style roast beef, cheese, fried onions, peppers and grilled pineapple?

Why not a rib poutine that has spareribs and tzatziki sauce?

Or how about a truly bizarre creation where the fries are replaced by a pancake and fruit jam and syrup are thrown in for good measure?

Fourteen such creations are on sale at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Blairmore for $9.75.
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“They’re delicious,” assured Cosmopolitan employee Crystal Johnston who helped develop the menu.

Johnston added that the offering of poutines are still in development and are subject to change according to the preferences of patrons and staff.

For years only the most basic bar foods and snacks could be had at the Cos. Then the new owners of the historic hotel and bar reopened its long dormant restaurant last year.

Business was slow and the owners closed the restaurant after a few short months but they still serve a number of menu items out of the bar.

Cosmopolitan Hotel owner Jesse Zhang recently added the new poutines to the menu. She said the creations emerged from a collaboration of Cos employees, customers and her own fertile imagination.

“All of them gave me some ideas,” said Zhang. “I like poutine and since I opened the kitchen I’ve been learning to cook all kinds of stuff.”
July 6th ~ Vol. 85 No. 27
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